You need to move at least an hour per day.
This is non-negotiable. Your “I don’t have time” excuse doesn’t matter. At all. Your body gives you exactly what you give it. If you don’t move, guess what? Your body is eventually going to hurt. Mobility will decrease. You won’t be able to enjoy the physical activities you’re currently doing. You’ll lose muscle, lose strength, good posture, and might end up with significant back issues.
Building up to that hour of movement of day is easier than you think – way easier.
You don’t need to spend 15 minutes getting ready, 15 minutes winding down, and 15 minutes traveling to and from the gym. You don’t need to change clothes. You don’t need to take a shower afterwards. You don’t need equipment.
You just need to MOVE. In whatever you’re wearing. With whatever you have available.
The science is in. We know that movement has profound effects on our mind and mood. We think more clearly, more creatively, and more effectively. We feel better, are happier, and more agreeable with one another.
Personally, I try to live my life in a way that I can relate to most other people. I don’t spend 4 hours per day working out. I sit at a desk often, and lounge on a couch in the evenings. I want to be able to show people, genuinely, that it’s relatively easy to stay active – even if you do sit at a desk for most of the way. What makes the difference isn’t the 60-minute workouts – it’s the LITTLE actions I take during the day to be more active. I walk more. I do a lunge instead of standing and waiting. If I’m in my living room winding down, I spend a few minutes doing restorative stretching. I try to do the movements that my body hasn’t done much of throughout the day, usually involving bending, twisting, and arching of the spine.
The thing is… this doesn’t come naturally. It might feel better when we start moving more often, but our default setting is to conserve energy. We need significant motivation in order to use that energy, especially if it’s developing a new habit – even if it is a positive one.
So what’s the best way to make moving more often a long term habit?
When it comes to fitness, the most important aspect is noticing results from what we’re doing. We need the feedback that says, “Hey! This is working! Let’s keep doing it.”
Most types of exercise take months to really realize the positive benefits. Workouts with weights usually leave you feeling drained and exhausted. Your sleep gets better for sure, but you probably don’t notice significant improvement in strength or energy in your day to day to life for a long time. It takes a while to get to the point that the energy you get from your workouts are enough to handle elevated energy throughout the day, in addition to the energy for your new workouts.
Yoga is different when it comes to this. It leaves you feeling invigorated. You finish with a feeling of satisfaction, the definite feeling of having completed work, but you also notice the differences immediately. You have more energy. Your body feels more limber, easier to move. Little aches and kinks that were there before have gone away or are drastically reduced. In other words, you have immediate feedback that yoga did something did something for you. That’s immediate feedback telling you that yoga is working, a blessing that we don’t get from lots of other workouts.
But even yoga takes SOME time to notice the benefits. So it’s ideal that we have some form of reinforcement or motivation to egg us on for the first few days or weeks, so we do the postures and exercises consistently enough that we start to notice the benefits.